Babies! They bring a smile to everybody's face. When babies arrive, they bring happiness. They wreak happy chaos on hormones, on the peace, on the noise levels on the house. Needless to say, all this is intensified inversely to the level of preparation that parents do.
A semblance of peace comes with getting organized, keeping everything in order and being well prepared for the baby's arrival - physically, emotionally and socially. If you are employed, then you need to be prepared in your professional sphere also.
Part of preparing professionally for your child's arrival is to keep your company well informed of your pregnancy and your absence from work for that. This is normally accomplished through the Maternity Leave Letter.
Preparation before the Letter
- Get information on the laws regarding maternity leave and benefits in your state.
- Get information on the company's policy regarding maternity leave and benefits.
- Get help on a ‘workplace pregnancy risk assessment' for when you continue work during your pregnancy.
- Decide how much of maternity leave you would need and when you will need to take leave from. This obviously will also depend on your doctor's advice, depending on your health and condition.
- Decide if you are going in for a measured and slow return to work or whether you are going to get back full time after your proposed leave.
- A casual intimation of the impending pregnancy to your boss, while assuring him of no disruption to your work routine, before you proceed on your maternity leave, will help in ensuring a smooth handover when it is necessary.
- o Work on a handover note, which will make the transition smooth and the role a simple one for anybody to do with a short adaptation. For this - (i) start making a daily task list, which will build into the weekly task list and thereon till you have all the activities of your role in writing and how they contribute to your role's objective; (ii) note down any ‘handy hints', problem areas and/or reminders; and, (iii) put down details of all your contacts, vendors and others who support you or you need to work within your role.
- Introduce the person who is going to handle your duties in your absence to the vendors and other stakeholders who you interact with.
- It will help to seek help from a colleague who has been through maternity leave before so that you don't miss on anything.
The Maternity Leave Letter
If there is a format for this available with your HR unit, then the information and form is already pre-set. You will just need to complete the form and submit a minimum of one month prior or earlier.
If there is no format prescribed, then ensure that the following details are captured:
- It should be addressed to your boss, dated, typed and with your signature at the bottom.
- There should be one copy for HR records.
- Your expected date of going on leave (this can only be tentative unless you are going on leave earlier because of medical reasons).
- The tentative date you expect to join back.
- Your role - the staff who will fulfill your responsibilities in your absence and your handover document for that person.
- Your return to work and the way you plan to do it - either phased, i.e. two hours on a day or half a day, or maybe work from home for some time, etc.
- Communication line with you when you are on leave - contact details, etc.
Now that you are already on your way to get organized, your baby can only make life better - smiles, burps and gurgles!